A Growing Area of Interest – Genetic Research
There seems to be a lot of interest in ADHD genetic research, probably because of the ever increasing diagnoses of the illness; especially among children. There seems to be a genetic connection with ADHD; one of the ADHD Genetic Research studies that were recently posted on this website was conducted by a team of British scientists who mapped the genes of over 1,400 children. These researchers discovered that children with ADHD were more likely to have small pieces of their DNA missing or duplicated. These abnormalities were located in the same region of the brain where schizophrenia as well as autism is believed to develop. This further contributed to the belief that ADHD is a neuro-developmental condition. Other studies linking ADHD to genetics have suggested that inheriting a DAT1 10 allele causes the brain to produce excess quantities of dopamine transporters which results in less dopamine signaling between neurons.
Korean scientists may have found some empirical grounds through their ADHD genetic research
Recently Korean scientists through their research have uncovered an adaptor protein called GIT1, which is linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The study published in “Nature Medicine” provides further evidence that this behavioral condition has a genetic component. The genetic link is often stressed because in years past ADHD has often been linked to “bad parenting”. This genetic connection should not exclude the possibility of environmental impacts or parenting influencing ADHD. This gives us some empirical evidence providing the grounds to pursue a discovery of the gene(s), or lack of these genes or modifications of the gene’s adaptor proteins with the hope of ultimately finding a cure for the condition.
According to the research one SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) or a single variant in the GIT-1 adaptor protein increased the chances by 3 times that a child would have ADHD. Additionally mice that lacked the GIT-1 showed ADHD-like symptoms, including hyperactivity and impaired learning and memory. The team looked at humans and mice. First they scanned ADHD-associated genes identified in previous genome-wide analyses specifically focusing on DNA linked to brain function. One potential candidate was GIT-1.
A Comparison of the sequence of the GIT-1 adaptor protein in 192 Korean children with ADHD and a group of 196 age-matched children without the condition found a SNP called RS-550818 was more common in children with ADHD than in the control group. Next they genetically engineered mice to lack the GIT-1. Approximately one half of the mice died soon after birth. Surviving mice lacking GIT-1 weighed significantly less than normal mice of the same age (minus 60-70 percent), but otherwise looked normal.
The genetically modified mice also responded to drugs used to treat human ADHD including Ritalin®. This reduced their ADHD-like activity back to the normal levels seen in control groups of animals. ADHD genetic research is another one of the many genetic studies that is beginning to show some promise. As with other genetic illnesses, once identified, a better treatment or even cure might be possible some day.